kpartx is a command line tool in Linux used for managing partition mappings within device-mapper, which is a kernel framework. It stands for "kernel partitioner" and is primarily used to create mappings between partition devices (e.g., disk partitions) and their corresponding block devices. This tool is commonly used for working with disk image files, especially those with multiple partitions.
kpartx allows users to create and remove partition mappings dynamically, without the need to manually create device nodes for each partition. It scans devices for recognized partition tables, such as MBR or GPT, and creates mappings accordingly. It generates devices like /dev/mapper/loopXpY, where X represents the loop device number and Y represents the partition number.
The tool is particularly useful for mounting partitions within disk images, making it easier to work with their contents individually. It also allows users to access and manipulate files within specific partitions without having to mount the entire image. Additionally, kpartx can be used to automate tasks that involve disk images, such as backing up specific partitions or restoring them.
kpartx is part of the multipath-tools package and is typically found on Linux systems, especially those that utilize device-mapper. It provides a convenient and efficient way to interact with disk images that contain multiple partitions, making it a valuable tool for system administrators and users working with storage devices.